What are marketplaces and how can I make the most of them?
Have you ever tried to sell your products on a marketplace to increase their visibility?
In recent years, more and more shops have joined this revolutionary online distribution channel in order to increase their sales opportunities.
These marketplaces, or "digital supermarkets" as they are more commonly known, are one of the ecommerce platforms most visited by users wishing to make an online purchase.
These online mini-stores can be compared to walking into a supermarket and being able to visit dozens of stores from all different sectors.
This system allows the user to choose from a greater variety of products and services, enhancing the user experience by providing everything they need on a single platform.
Not sure what a marketplace is yet? Here is a more precise definition:
What is a marketplace?
A marketplace is a website which enables interactions between sellers and buyers to optimise business transactions.
On this type of platform, sellers and buyers are put into contact in a technical and commercial environment, which is the marketplace, until the transaction is completed.
This "virtual shopping centre" therefore makes the sale easier for both the seller and the buyer, while ensuring that the transaction is carried out under the best possible conditions.
In addition, the transaction is covered by the platform, which acts as a trusted third party.
Generally speaking, you will find "supermarkets" which offer physical products (DVDs, books...), but you may also find intangible objects such as source codes, e-books, etc.
Is joining a marketplace worthwhile?
Be aware that any professional online retail manager, even if they are beginners in the world of online shopping, can sell products on a marketplace (small online store, wholesalers, etc.).
This implies a great deal of competition between sellers.
You should also keep in mind that marketplaces reserve the right to accept or decline certain sellers or products as they see fit.
Indeed, some marketplaces specialise in specific domains, and do not accept products which do not correspond to their image or fall into their categories.
Are there any negatives to this type of platform?
Although this system offers you many advantages, you should also know that, like almost everything else, it also has its disadvantages.
One of these disadvantages is that you will have to share this platform with other online stores which similar to yours and, therefore, which represent your direct competition.
Thus, just as if you walk through a large shopping centre, you will find several stores selling the same type of products arranged next to each other. This is the negative side of marketplaces.
Your potential customers will have the opportunity to look at other competitive brands in addition to your own.
What type of market are marketplaces aimed at?
To sum-up in a few figures, about 55% of Internet users in the United States look-up a product before purchasing.
As for online purchases, 96% of Internet users prefer to make their purchases on one of these digital platforms, according to a Magneto agency report carried out last year.
Which are the best sites in this commercial sector?
Amazon's annual revenue already exceeds $70 billion, with roughly 90 million visitors per month.
This marketplace already has more than 183 million products available to Internet users.
But Amazon is not the only one in a privileged position or the first marketplace that "springs to mind".
Other online retail giants such as eBay (mentioned above) and the Chinese AliExpress succeed it, but at a considerable distance in terms of turnover.
What are the main advantages of a marketplace?
Using marketplaces to sell your products can be extremely beneficial. This can be a good distribution channel if you have some experience in the world of Internet sales.
1. Easy comparison for the user
Marketplaces represent, as we have already seen, a very comprehensive sales channel. Nevertheless, you must have a competitive advantage in terms of product range, price and other key factors.
Otherwise, it would not make much sense to "go up against" these retail giants mentioned above.
Marketplaces work to the user's advantage, as they are able to easily compare products that have similar features.
And you, as the company's manager, are compelled and encouraged to become more and more competitive and to provide a quality service and high-quality products to your potential buyers, in order to promote your brand image and be able to compete with your competitors.
2. Secure payments and deliveries
The platform guarantees payment to the seller and delivery to the buyer. The platform's anti-fraud system creates a trusting environment for the user for every transaction.
This trusting environment is reflected in the high level of customer satisfaction with existing quality criteria.
3. More online visibility
A company of this type enables retailers to promote their online store, thus increasing its visibility, as their products are now accessible to millions of visitors.
What's more, these type of platforms have a considerably high ranking in terms of search engines. Your marketplace presence gives you even more visibility and can enhance your website's natural (organic) SEO.
4. Ease of use
Starting such a business is relatively simple. You don't need advanced computer skills, even if you're just starting to create your own online store.
An online store flow management system will allow you to distribute your product catalogue on a marketplace and make it available to the platform's users.
Also, if you are looking to create a marketplace, you can do so by following the advice given in this blog.
3 modules to integrate your marketplace into your PrestaShop shop
I would like to share some of the most relevant PrestaShop addons with you, if you think this solution could work with the company you currently own.
1. Amazon Market Place module
With this amazing module, you'll be able to include products on the Amazon platform in your own online store.
With Amazon Market Place, you can also manage all orders placed by your customers. Its simple interface is also one of the most downloaded at the moment.
A sure bet if you prefer this type of online sales system.
2. The FastBay module - eBay Marketplace synchronisation
As I mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of this kind of sales technique is that it makes your products and, in general, your online store, more visible to consumers.
If you decide to sell your products on the famous eBay platform, you can completely control all feeds and sales with the Fastbay module, adapted for PrestaShop.
What's more, if you have set-up an online store using PrestaShop 1.7, you will not run into any compatibility issues.
3. The Knowband module - Integrating the Etsy Marketplace
Managing your customers' products and orders on the Etsy platform is no longer a problem thanks to this module, created by Knowband and adapted for your PrestaShop online store.
With Knowband Etsy Marketplace, you'll have a complete view of all the sales you generate at your fingertips, by uploading your products to the famous platform.
In addition, this module, perfectly adapted to your online store, almost instantly synchronises your business with the Etsy website.
A great feature for your online store which will enable you to promote your products.
An infography summary concerning the importance of joining marketplaces
Finally, I leave you a useful computer graphic, designed by Magneto Solutions using statistics relevant to the importance of these platforms.
In conclusion, making yourself known on these digital platforms generates a significant amount of traffic, and increases the chances of a user visiting your website.
Therefore, marketplaces can be used as a medium-term, beneficial instrument, since they allow you to increase your turnover without assigning exorbitant prices to your products.
And you, have you ever considered joining a marketplace to sell your products?
Images property of Freepik.